Onwards and upwards ...

Plenty of layers are needed today

Wednesday, 09 January 2019

"He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass."

George Herbert.

Two-year-olds cantering single file

... and all moving well

It’s much colder today due mainly to the north wind, which is twice as strong as yesterday. You need as many layers on as possible when going out on the heath. It is forecast to get slightly warmer as the week goes on and let’s hope the wind drops as well. We have plenty of staff in this morning and have been getting on well once again with everything. I have got the odd two-year-old coughing and a bit snotty but if they are going to get coughs and colds, now is the time to get it. If you use plenty of Vircon, keep dipping your bridles and disinfect their doors and stables, it will soon clear up.

Together now

Julian Muscatt makes three very good points in his column today in the Racing Post, all of which are common sense and don’t need much explanation. Firstly he states the owners that don’t want to run at Cheltenham have done it in the right way and have not castigated Cheltenham or anybody connected to it. They have just had a bad experience with their horses there and because they love them and want to do the right thing by them, they would rather not go there at present.

The main bit of his column to me though is the one that talks about coverage of racing in today’s newspapers. He says, quite rightly, that the moving of good races from midweek to cram them all in on a Saturday has been to the detriment of coverage, i.e. the completely barmy decision to move the Derby from a Wednesday to the weekend and the July meeting from midweek to finish on a Saturday. There are so many other things happening on a Saturday that the Derby and the July Cup get completely lost amongst other sports and if the sports editor has no interest in racing, even more so. These decisions have been taken by marketing men, certainly not racing men, although the Jockey Club are responsible for both the races I mention. Commercially they may have an argument, but it’s not what the Jockey Club are supposed to do, it is damaging our sport rather than bettering it.

Finally his piece on the Dubai Carnival is an interesting one where he comments that it is more of a supremacy competition between the Godolphin trainers, rather than an international meeting. It is certainly becoming harder to send horses out there with the costs going up and the difficulty of winning any prize money.

Walking through open stalls

... and standing nice and still

I see trainer Paul Coles’ son Oliver is stating the obvious when he calls for less red tape and cheaper visas for overseas staff, which he thinks will help the staffing crisis. They have a lot of Brazilians in their yard who can most certainly ride and are very good workers. The big problem is the immigration rules and although you can make a very good reason why work riders from overseas, i.e. South American and the Asian continent, should be allowed here, the criteria, which will be set shortly, or maybe not if the Brexit negotiations go on much longer, will be quite high. All this takes so much time and so much legislation has to go through Parliament. With so many industries’ clammering for the same thing, I think we are pretty much down the pecking order, unfortunately. All we can do is keep lobbying.